REAR PALACE (วังหลั่ง)
Text & maps by Tricky Vandenberg - July 2012
Wang Lang or the Rear Palace is a defunct palace of the Ayutthayan era, earlier
situated on the premises where now the Fine Arts Department (FAD) - Region 3 is
located, adjacent to
Chedi Phra Sri Suriyothai, element of Wat Suan Luang. The location
was in the 20th century a liquor distillery. (1) The Rear Palace was situated opposite
Wat
Kasatra on the east bank of the old Lopburi River, which river bed in the 19th century
became the Chao Phraya River.

The palace was first mentioned in the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya during the reign of
King Chakkraphat (r. 1548-1569). At the end of the year 1565 A.D. King Chakkraphat
appointed his son, Prince Mahin, to be regent, and retired into private life. He installed
himself at the Rear Palace.

In 914, a year of the rat, during the twelfth month, King Cakkraphat, Lord of the
White Elephant, raised Prince Mahin, the Nò Phraphutthacao, to rule the realm as
its supreme sovereign, observe the royal traditions and govern the Kingdom of the
Capital City of Ayutthaya. King Cakkraphat, Lord of the White Elephant, went out
to occupy the
Rear Palace. At that time the king was fifty-nine years old. King
Mahin, Lord of the Realm, was twenty-five years old when he ascended the royal
throne.
(2) [1]

The Rear Palace was mentioned on later occasions. King Suthammaracha (r. 1656), just
installed on the throne, made sexual advances to a younger sister of Prince Narai (r.
1656-1688). The young lady was not at all cherished by this event and escaped in a
book cabinet to the
Front Palace for an audience with her elder brother. Prince Narai
was not amused by the actions of his uncle, gathered his troops and supporters, and
attacked the Royal Palace. King Suthammaracha, after a night of fighting, escaped to the
Rear Palace, where he was later arrested by the ministers of Prince Narai. The King was
taken to
Wat Khok Phraya as it was the custom and executed. [2]

The Rear Palace, initially a royal pavilion, was located in a garden outside the Royal
Palace. The Ayutthayan kings used to stay here occasionally and the area was therefore
called "Suan Luang" (the royal garden). The palace was rebuilt on a larger scale in the
reign of King Maha Thammaracha (r. 1569-1590) around 1577 AD, when the fortified
Chan Kasem Palace (Wang Mai) was built and used as a residence for the king's oldest
son Prince Naresuan (r. 1590-1605). Likely the king's youngest son Prince Ekathotsarot
(r. 1605-1610/11) resided at the Rear Palace. The Rear Palace had its own temple,
Wat
Noi (Little Monastery).

The Chan Kasem Palace became later known as the Wang Na (Front Palace), while
Suan Luang was known as the Wang Lang (Rear Palace), because the first stood at the
front and the latter at the back of Wang Luang (Royal Palace). [3] The Rear Palace
became the residence of the princes of the blood, while the Front Palace was habited by
the Uparat or viceroy (second king).

In 1044 of the Royal Era, a year of the dog, ____ of the decade, Supreme Holy
Reigning Lord Narai of the Municipality of Lopburi fell ill with His holy disease at
the Clear Heaven Holy Throne. Phra Phet Racha went in to live at the Mansion of
Holy Cahao and then had police come down to invite Their Highnesses, the
Celestial Lords Ngòi and Aphaithot - holy younger brothers of the King sharing the
same holy royal father and who were residing at a holy domicile in the
Holy Royal
Rear Palace Enclosure
- by saying a holy royal proclamation had been issued to
invite Their Highnesses to ascend for an audience [with the King] at the
Municipality of Lopburi.
[4]

Kaempfer, a German doctor working for the Dutch VOC, wrote that the Rear Palace
was the smallest of the three palaces and situated in the least inhabited part of the city. In
1690 a prince of royal ascendance inhabited the place which was called the "Palace of
the Querry of the King's Elephants", as this prince was in charge of the royal elephants.
[5] Kaempfer indicated the palace on his
map of Ayutthaya.

The last time the Rear Palace was mentioned in the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya is in
the reign of King Phetracha (r. 1688-1703). It could be that the Rear Palace thereafter
became in disuse as a palace. On
Bellin's map published in 1750, we find a temple
("pagode") indicated on the palace grounds, which could indicate that the area received a
new function.

In front of the Rear Palace was a boat landing called "Tha Dan Lom" connecting the
palace with the landing of Wat Kasatra. (3)

Footnotes:

(1) See map in the "Guide to Ayudhya and Bang-Pa-In" by Tri Amatyakul. [2]
(2) The Royal Chronicles of Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat,
Phra Cakkraphatdiphong & Royal Autograph speak of 914 CS or 1552 AD, while a
Chronicle of an unknown author speaks of 927 CS or 1565 AD. The latter date is
generally taken as the date of King Chakkraphat's retirement. (See Wood - A History of
Siam - page 121). King Chakkraphat will continue his rule on request of his son in 1568
until his death in 1569.
(3) See
Ayutthaya Boat & Ferry landings.

References:

[1] The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 51 /
Source: Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat, Phra
Cakkraphatdiphong & Royal Autograph - King Mahin Ascends The Throne.
[2] Ibid - page 228-30 - King Si Sutham Racha, August 8 - October 26, 1656.
[3] Guide to Ayudhya and Bang-Pa-In - Tri Amatyakul (1957) - page 27-8.
[4] The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 309 /
Source: Phan Canthanumat.
[5] The History of Japan, together with a description of the kingdom of Siam, 1690-92 -
Kaempfer - Page 46 - The Court of Siam A.D. 1690.
The Rear Palace on Kaempfer's map
(The Rear Palace on Kaempfer's map)
The Rear Palace on Bellin's map
(The Rear Palace on Bellin's map)
The Rear Palace on Phrya Boran Rachathanin's map
(The Rear Palace on Phrya Boran Rachathanin's map)